Sulforaphane, a primary phytochemical found in broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, is an inhibitor of histone deacetylase, or HDAC enzymes. HDAC inhibition is an emerging field of cancer treatment and represents a promising pharmaceutical and dietary approach. Emily Ho, from Oregon State Un (Oregon, USA), and colleagues have investigated the effects of sulforaphane in normal, benign hyperplasia, and cancerous prostate epithelial cells. The team observed that 15 micromoles of sulforaphane caused cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in benign hyperplasia and cancerous prostate epithelial cells; and did not affect normal cells whatsoever. Sulforaphane also selectively decreased HDAC enzyme activity. The researchers conclude that: “[Sulforaphane] exerts differential effects on cell proliferation, HDAC activity and downstream targets in normal and cancer cells.”
Glossary: HDAC Inhibitors - involve the way genes transcribe and express at the epigenetic level. HDAC inhibitors are involved in tumor supressor gene activation (p21 and p53). There are pharmaceuticals that act as HDAC inhibitors.
Brocolli and the extracts of cruciferous vegetables (Broccoraphinin™) have many properties for cancer prevention and treatment. They help detoxify estrogens and other carcinogens through liver enzyme pathways (cytochrome p450), prevent angiogenesis (blood vessel growth). They have been shown to induce apoptosis in some cell lines and down regulate Bcl-2 an inhibitor of apoptosis (programmed cell death).